The McGowan funeral home operated in South Dallas from 1955 until the 1990’s.
Alto McGowan was born in 1904 in San Augustine, Texas, and moved to Dallas as a young man. He ran several businesses, including a café, record shop, bail bonds business, and others. He started the McGowan Funeral Home around 1955 and became a member of several funeral director associations and fraternal organizations.
The Dallas Public Library holds the collection of records from the McGowan home: it is currently housed on the 8th floor in the administrative area and is not accessible to the general public without prior arrangement. It contains client/deceased files which may include obituaries, photographs, funeral pamphlets, death certificates, and related materials. A small portion of the collection pertains to the administrative/office functions of running the funeral home, which held city, county, and VA contracts for local ambulances serving several nearby counties. This collection is a great resource for African-American burial practices in the late twentieth century.
Members of our African American Genealogical Interest Group have been creating a digital index of these records. The database link in this page searches the records that have been indexed so far.
The program used to enter information can be accessed using this link (note: A unique UserID and Password are required to access this program).
Current bugs, kinks and other oddities in the program:
- If you log in, search for a record and click on the Exit link you may be prompted to log in again. Go ahead and log in again.
- Fields containing an apostrophe (‘) are causing problems… If the field already contains an apostrophe you will not be able to save the record. Use of apostrophes should be avoided until this problem is resolved.
- “McGowan” is appearing in the list of Funeral Home name twice… either one may be selected.
- You can only delete records that you created.
If you encounter any other problems, please select the “Contact Us” menu option (put “McGowan” in the Subject field) and describe the issue.